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Long Time Coming: A Novel
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Long Time Coming: A Novel

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  888 ratings  ·  116 reviews
Stephen Swan is amazedwhen he hears that the uncle he thought had been killed in the Blitz is actually alive. For nearly four decades, Eldritch Swan has been locked away in an Irish prison and now, at last, has been released. Shocked and suspicious, Stephen listens to the old man’s story and is caught up in a tale that begins at the dawn of World War II, when Eldritch work ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published March 2nd 2010 by Bantam (first published November 20th 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,414)
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F.R.
There’s the kernel of a good book here: a roguish uncle returns from the dead and soon embroils his nephew in a mystery concerning a long ago art fraud and a very dubious part of English/Irish history. Ostensibly set in the seventies, it flashes back repeatedly to the forties with the two narratives intertwining. If done right – conjuring a good sense of time and place, while revealing its secrets judiciously – then this could be a nifty little suspense yarn.

Unfortunately, there’s no way I can p
...more
Martin Fautley
Hooray. A thriller finally written by someone who writes in sentences, speaks English, and keeps the plot moving without having to pretend it's the screenplay for an airhead action film! Or maybe I've read too much trash recently?

Nicely placed story set in 1970s and WW2, concerning characters, spy plots, smuggled diamonds, and forged pictures. Moves along with good level of detail, and doesn't assume the reader has the IQ of an Ant. Dirty dealings of Gov't in UK and Ireland, and complex sub- and
...more
Ms.pegasus
Nov 20, 2011 Ms.pegasus rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anglophiles, mystery lovers,
Shelves: fiction, suspense
The elements of suspense are skillfully orchestrated in LONG TIME COMING. The contemporary (1976) narrative, seen primarily though the eyes of Stephen Swan alternate with the backstory occurring in 1940, primarily from the third-person observation of Stephen's uncle, Eldritch Swan, participant, among other things, in a forgery scam of priceless Picassos. This dual narrative allows the author to approach the problem of creating suspense from different angles. Stephen's dilemmas include a successi ...more
Mbm
I've read a few of Goddard's novels but none of the earlier ones more cherished by his devotees.The majority of them have been readable and entertaining,although one or two have been awful.This I found to be pleasantly diverting at least.

Goddard is very good at whisking his reader around the map book.You're shuttled around provincial Britain,continental Europe and even further afield in his work at regular intervals.At times this lends a paradoxical cosiness to proceedings,at others an annoying
...more
GS Nathan
Glad I checked out this book. The British have always had a lock on the stories about scoundrels who had moral lines they don't cross, dubious heroes, if you like that description, and Robert Goddard's story about Mr. Eldritch Swan falls in that category. Of course the counterpoint is his nephew, the real hero of the story. But in a story that switches between the 70's and the late 30's he manages to spin a very good yarn. Some parts, especially where a government secret service is too ready to ...more
Trish
I have loved Goddard's writing from day one and have all his books on my shelves. I considered him a great secret, since he was never promoted, but his books would show up on my local bookstores shelves, only one copy, even of a new title. This time, however, we got more than one copy, and it turns out to have been the worst of the lot. The characters missed by a long shot--not realistic in the slightest, nor particularly likeable, any of them, except the old black valet at the end. No, don't go ...more
Joe Stamber
While on holiday in Cyprus I discovered a "library" of books that people had left for others to enjoy. I dutifully left Ken Follett's Code To Zero there after finishing it and was delighted to find this fairly new Robert Goddard book. As usual, Goddard delivers an enjoyable and easily readable mystery that jumps between time zones and locations with spanners thrown into the works at regular intervals. The Irish troubles are woven brilliantly into the narrative as Goddard produces another excelle ...more
Lara
I always look forward to a new Robert Goddard, though don't think I would persist if his earliest ones hadn't been so good. This one vaguely mixes anglo-irish politics with an art scam. I liked how the story moved back to the 1940's and then to the 70's. Usual Goddard convoluted plotting, but I did read another book in the middle so not quite unputdownable as I have found some earlier ones.
Linda Schwartz
I always hate it when I get more than 50% through a Robert Goddard book because I know the end is getting closer. Fantastic writer with complex plotting, yet not complicated or difficult to follow. This plot moves back and forth from the early days of WWII to the mid-1970s and involves a question of a mysterious imprisonment and stolen/forge Picassos. Goddard is a gem, as usual.
Diane Macaluso
I slogged my way through this one. I thought of just returning it, but found that I wanted to know how it ended. I'm thinking I might have enjoyed it more some other time! Oh, well!
Bryan Higgs
By my count, this is number 21 on my quest to read all of Robert Goddard's books, in chronological order by publish date.

This one is the best I've read of his for some time. The plot is complex (with, of course, the required hallmark plot twists of a Goddard book), set in interesting and historic times, with chapters moving backwards and forwards between 1976 and 1940. The author does an outstanding job of slowly peeling off the layers of the onion of the plot, and I, at least, did not guess wha
...more
Sheri
This was good for what it is. Meaning, of course that it is just a "candy book". There is nothing really profound here, there are no points of wisdom; it is simply a fairly compelling mystery novel and easy page turner.

I did not find the plot particularly surprising or suspenseful and the characters were rather thin, but it kept me entertained. I was most annoyed with Rachel's character. First, I did not understand her reasoning behind the bitterness of having grown up poor-ish because of the t
...more
Jeremy
Absolutely Brilliant, but don’t be fooled by the rifle on the cover. I think only one shot rings out in the entire book. This is more your Smiley’s people territory and considers the real threat that existed during the second world war when Britain feared that Irelands Eamon de Valera may side with Hitler and let the Germans ashore to invade Britain from the west. Cue some “old school” relationships and very underhand dealings and we have some espionage and double crossing to set the scene – alt ...more
Anne
Another solid suspense tale from Robert Goddard. Like many of his books, this one centers on a crime that happened in the past. The book opens in 1976, when Eldritch Swan is released from an Irish prison after 36 years for a crime he did not commit. After his release, he is offered money to prove that a collection of Picasso paintings was stolen in 1940. He knows that they were, because he helped steal them.

The story alternates between 1976 and 1940, with an epilogue set in the present day. Eldr
...more
Cphe
The most interesting facet to this sweeping mystery, thriller book is the setting. Ireland during the second world war both England and Germany are intent on coaxing Ireland from her neutrality, by fair means or foul.

The story is based around Eldritch Swan, who literally returns from the dead, after spending thirty six years as a guest of the Irish prison system. Along with his nephew Stephen they investigate the theft of several Picasso paintings during the war.

The book takes place in the late
...more
LG
Stephen Swan is an awesome name, and Eldritch Swan more so. And Rachel Banner? That’s a Marvel superhero, or at least her alter ego. The Belgian diamond trade, references to Conrad’s Congo, the start of the Second World War, stolen Picassos, postwar moves and countermoves – and 1970s IRA thrown in for good measure. I wanted to like this book, as I’ve enjoyed every other one I’ve read by Goddard, one of suspense fiction’s most unsung masters. Sadly, none of the above characters or settings were p ...more
Stephanie
Pleasantly surprised by this thriller which was much more convoluted and well-plotted than I expected. It jumps between two main time periods - the 1940s and the 1970s - and I was interested in the differences in detail between the two. Subsequent generations of several families become involved in the intrigues which does mean I needed to keep awareness of who was who, but overall an enjoyable read.
Tagra
I give up. I hate leaving books unfinished, but when I put off reading for several months, it's time to move on and read something interesting again.

It started out so promising! Mysterious motivations and intrigue, espionage and promises of action, plot twists! And somewhere roughly 30-40% of the way in, it all became so... so... incredibly generic. All the words started blurring together and I just didn't give a shit anymore. But I couldn't stop reading - what if it got better!!!! I spent sever
...more
Sonia Almeida
I liked this book. It kept me engaged in the story till the end, and maybe because it was the first I read from this author I found the narrative original (I already read somewhere he tens to write his books all in the same way, unveilling the plot as we go along by verbal accounts of some of the characters).
Nonetheless it was interesting, a page turner, and the historical context added value to it.
Recommended to anyone who likes a good mistery.
Colin Andrews
I think Robert Goddard's mantra must be 'the past is the key to the present' since the general pattern of his novels seems to be a person in the present being unwittingly caught up in intrigue that has origins a generation or so earlier.

Long Time Coming is probably the best of his recent novels, after a couple of rather disappointing ones (e.g. Found Wanting). The story is reasonably plausible, and the plot has more twists and turns than a Devon country lane. The flashbacks give a tantalising g
...more
Kayb
This story has a lovely pace to it and draws the reader in taking the reader on journey that covers a complicated plot, to untangle a web of deceit set against a convincing backdrop of London, Dublin and Antwerp during the 1940s and 1976.

Goddard cares about his characters and carefully embroiders detailed persona for: Eldritch Swan and his nephew, Stephen Swan (who never knew his uncle existed until now). Together they avoid an elusive enemy as they unravel a plot that sets fake Picasso and Iri
...more
James Marinero
One of the pleasures of reading is discovering a new author whose writing I like. It's like discovering a seam of gold (I guess)! This is the third Goddard in as many weeks for me and it delivers most of what I like in a good read - action, variety and the opportunity to learn about new places and events - in this case the non-involvement of Ireland in the Second World War. I don't think that's a plot spoiler.

You have to work to keep up with him, with jumps in time and geography woven into comp
...more
Robert Intriago
The book is divided into two subplots. The first one takes place in 1976 and it involves the theft of a blue period Picasso art collection. The story is interesting but the author relies on several forced subterfuges to construct the plot. Characters appear out of the blue to fill gaps in the story. These mysterious appearances force you to backtrack to the beginning of the book to find where you first heard the name before.
The other subplot deals with 1940. It has some very interesting historic
...more
Susan
Geologist Stephen Swan comes home to find an uncle that he was told died during the Blitz, but has just been just released after 36 years in an Irish prison for an unspecified crime. The uncle is hired to prove the truth about the ownership of a trove of Picassos stolen at the outbreak of WWII and enlists Stephen to help. He predictably falls in love with Rachael Banner, the somewhat obsessed granddaughter of the man from whom the paintings were stolen. The plot is complex and revealed in layers ...more
Kandice
Having not read this author before, I enjoyed reading this book for a book club. I always like historical fiction and was interested to read more about the Irish role in WWII. However, throughout the book I kept waiting for the surprise at the end of the story. Based on how the book was written, with different plot twists periodically unfolding, I kept expecting some big piece to be revealed at the end. Unfortunately, that never happened and I was left feeling disappointed. Because of that, I ga ...more
Warren Olson
Love Goddard's work ; This the usual page turning, red herrings in abundance, well researched and entertaining read.
Sue
It was very slow to start but did improve. The story itself seemed something of nothing and the ending hasn't left me feeling fulfilled. Certainly not one of the author's best, in my opinion!
Helen
Pete leant this book to me after he'd finished it and I must admit I didn't really think at first it would be my sort of thing - but in the end I found I struggled to put it down and enjoyed all the twists and turns. The timeline jumps around quite a bit but the way the book is structured means the decade changes flow seemlessly together and you never lose track of what's going on in the story - instead the jumps just add to the suspence. I think me and Pete will both enjoy reading more books by ...more
Lam
All of Robert Goddard's books--and I have now read all of them--are intricately plotted and well-written. This one moves back and forth between related events in 1940 and 1976 involving a Jewish diamond merchant in Antwerp, an Englishman wrongly imprisoned in Ireland for 36 years, the merchant's granddaughter, and the Englisman's nephew. Add forged Picassos, a main character named Eldritch Swan, and Goddard's marvelous ear for English dialect, and you've got a "thumping good read," which happens ...more
Michael Ryan
The only way I can think to quantify my review is to say that this book is better than some, but not as good as lots of others. It's difficult because it's not "bad", per se, but it's not really good, either.
This book isn't a thriller but it does have elements of a heist/caper. This book isn't historical fiction but it does flip back and forth between WWII and the 1970's. This book is well written, but not memorable. This book is for Robert Goddard fans but not really for anyone else, unless you
...more
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In a writing career spanning more than twenty years, Robert Goddard's novels have been described in many different ways - mystery, thriller, crime, even historical romance. He is the master of the plot twist, a compelling and engrossing storyteller and one of the best known advocates for the traditional virtues of pace, plot and narrative drive.
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